diary of bruce johnston diary of bruce johnston





Mission Notes: Bordeaux

( see map at bottom of screen )

Operation Summary:
306 Lancasters from Nos 1, 3 and 8 Groups successfully attacked oil storage targets on the River Gironde at Blaye, Bordeaux and Pauillac.

Planes from 115 Squadron:
21 (6 from A flight, 8 from B flight, 7 from C flight)

Planes lost from 115 Squadron:

Johnston’s Plane: KO-W (W.PB 131)

Take-off: 2:38 pm

Landing: 10:11 pm

Round trip time: 7 hrs 49 mins

Bombing Height: 4,200 ft


RAF Bomber Command, 115 Squadron at Witchford, near Ely

Willie - Lancaster bomber, with “W” as the final code letter

Bordeaux - City in the southern part of France near the Bay of Biscay

Flak - German anti-aircraft fire

Trips - Bombing missions

DR Repeater / Repeater - Distant Reading repeater – the repeater allowed the compass information to be viewed from more than one station on the plane

Computer box - Device on a bomber in which data was entered, such as wind speed and direction, and the plane’s air speed, direction, and height, and which then calculated the moment the bombs should be dropped

Nav - Navigator

Gyro - Inertial device for measuring change in attitude (pitch, roll, yaw)

P4 - Magnetic hand held compass

ED6 - Mechanical component within a Lancaster, exact location and purpose unknown

U/S - Unserviceable, or unusable

Turret - Transparent bubble in a bomber in which a gunner was located

Mid-upper - Mid-upper turret

George - Autopilot

Pranged - Usually refers to crashing a plane on landing or takeoff at the airfield, but in this case means the target was successfully bombed
August 5, 1944 (Saturday)

Operation # 16 - Bordeaux

Eight 1,000 pound bombs

Willie got out of inspection just in time for us to take her to an oil depot about five miles north of Bordeaux (in the outer ring of defence so we got some flak opposition).

It was the same route almost exactly as yesterday as it is shown on the map. It was low level until two degrees east (under 1,000 feet - fun!). Then climbed to 16,000 ft to bomb (then had to go down to 4,000 ft to let ’em go, then climb again to go home).

Took about 7:45 altogether and it was quite a trip. To start with the repeaters in my cockpit and the computer box were reversed and turned in the wrong directions and we had to disconnect the computer box and use the emergency bombing angle. I flew on the Nav’s DR repeater and the gyro checking with the P4. Then the port ED6 went U/S.

Then when nearly at the target the rear turret went U/S due to a leak and an oil shortage in the system (which after much trouble we topped up from the mid-upper turret system). Then there was a leak in the mid-upper – but it was still workable.

Then on the way back George wouldn’t work! What a mess.

Target was well pranged though. I must have lost about five pounds in sweat – gosh it was hot! The sweat just rolled off me.

Bomb load in a Lancaster

Previous | Next

© Bruce Johnston, Mark Johnston, Scott Johnston

Diary Pages | Colleagues | Terms & Slang | Operations | Timeline
Links | Guestbook | Search This Site